by David Taub
It’s two days before showtime and the 40 or so performers of the latest Cirque du Soleil show are practicing their craft on the Save Mart Center floor. Some are bouncing off air trampolines made to look like small stages. Others are climbing and swinging from giant poles that extend from floor to ceiling.
The world-renowned troupe brings its “Toruk- The First Flight” performance to Fresno for the first of four nights, starting Thursday. With several tractor-trailers lined up in the parking lot, the technical crew of about 60 help set up the stage, sew the costumes, check sound and lighting and make any last minute adjustments. Cirque brings athletic trainers in as well to help keep these well conditioned performers in top shape.
“Toruk” is now in its second year of touring, usually stopping at one location a week. Jessica Ward is on her first Cirque show. She came from a gymnastics background, acrosports to be specific. She performs on a rope number. “I don’t really get scared, per se. In the rope number, we are up 35-40 feet, holding on with just your grip. It did take a bit of training,” the Australian native says.
This is Ward’s first trip to Fresno. She is looking forward to explore the nightlife. “I am hoping we might find a good restaurant or bar,” she says.
Tickets are still available for all shows. Opening night is Thursday (October 27) starting at 7:30 p.m.
Photo/video/editing by Roe Borunda